MSNBC's Keith Olbermann opened his August 7 Countdown show fretting about President Bush's unwillingness to delay his vacation, in contrast with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during the current fighting in the Middle East, mocking Bush during the teaser by twice uttering the words: "He's on vacation." He even drew a negative parallel from history as he recounted that the Nazi invasion of Europe received a boost while infamous British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain vacationed, as the Countdown host then similarly uttered the words, "Chamberlain was on vacation," to link him to Bush. Olbermann, who has never compared the appeasement-minded Chamberlain to anti-war liberals, then further contrasted Bush with current Prime Minister Blair's decision to cancel his own vacation: "His close ally, Tony Blair, avoided the direct Chamberlain comparison and cancelled his own time off because of the events in the Middle East." Referring to Condoleezza Rice's handling of Middle East negotiations, Olbermann contended that she was "picking up the pieces of the President's foreign policy." (Transcript follows)
On Thursday's Countdown, Keith Olbermann reacted to Bill O'Reilly's comments about "vampires" Wednesday night. In case you missed it: When O'Reilly said "we should call these people out," referring to "smear merchants" like Olbermann, Geraldo Rivera said he should call them by name. O'Reilly said no, because "then you give them more publicity."
In his latest Factor Fiction segment, Olbermann retorted: "There have been three million articles about this feud. There was one this morning! How much worse could you make it by using my name, Billo? What are they going to do -- build a statue of me? You're so confident in your success that you have to keep my name and show a secret from your viewers, or all of your viewers will all leave you in one night?"
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night targeted "comedian" Rush Limbaugh as his “Worst Person in the World” for “suggesting that civilian deaths in Lebanon are necessary to stop terror.” Employing a mockingly braggadocios voice to try to impersonate Limbaugh, Olbermann read a sentence from Limbaugh and then asserted that Limbaugh had echoed “something another commentator said nine years ago,” namely Osama bin Laden. Olbermann read the bin Laden quote, without any mocking impersonation, and then concluded the August 1 Countdown segment: “Rush Limbaugh, following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden, today's Worst Person in the World!" (Transcript follows)
Appearing on Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, who regularly appears on the show to poke fun at celebrities in the news, used actor/filmmaker Mel Gibson's recent anti-Semitic outburst as an opportunity to smear Gibson's general audience as also being racist. Responding to a question from Olbermann about whether Gibson's career would suffer, Musto labeled Gibson's audience, presumably referring to Passion of the Christ fans, as "deeply anti-Semitic," and as "deeply proud" of Gibson's expression of anti-Semitism. Musto: "He doesn't work with anybody else, and his audience is already deeply anti-Semitic, so they're deeply proud of him after this." (Transcript follows)
During an appearance on Friday's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann acknowledged accusations of liberal bias, but denied they were true, preferring to describe himself politically as "correct" and "neutral," without a "rooting interest" in who wins elections. Ignoring criticism from the MRC that, among other instances of bias during the 1998 Monica Lewinsky scandal, he once compared former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to Nazi war criminal Heinrich Himmler, Olbermann claimed that he was never accused of liberal bias while covering the scandal. Olbermann: "I've been accused of being a liberal, which is interesting because the last time I was on doing the news in the late 90s, I did 218 consecutive shows about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. And no one accused me of being a liberal then. It's very interesting the way you can be sort of pigeonholed. I like to think of myself politically as 'correct.'" (Transcript follows)
Glen Carvin writes in the Miami Herald about what really went on when Keith Olbermann did a Nazi salute while holding up a Bill O'Reilly mask. The TV critics naturally got a kick out of seeing their most-hated TV personality lampooned as a Nazi.
What actually happened (and is verified in a transcript of the session prepared by NBC) is that Olbermann, onstage, was kidding around about a mild controversy about whether photographers would be permitted to cover the Saturday breakfast.
''So we thought we'd help you out, those of you who needed a good photograph of -- '' and he held up the O'Reilly mask, over his face. The critics laughed.
''And, of course, there's a more familiar one,'' Olbermann said, keeping the mask in place while shooting his arm up in a Heil-Hitler salute. The critics laughed again. ''With that bit of structured comedy out of the way, I suppose there's some questions,'' Olbermann said, and the press conference began.
Who says The New York Times has lost touch with reality? A recent puff piece by TV reporter Bill Carter on MSNBC’s “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann honors him as the "centerpiece" and "great growth story" of MSNBC. He’s up “30 percent” in the 25-to-54 demographic. How significant is this? Since Olbermann came to TV as a sportscaster, let’s just say this is like celebrating a .200 hitter for having the best batting average on a last-place baseball team.
The Times shoe-shine carried the headline “MSNBC’s Star Carves Anti-Fox Niche,” yet in his report Carter had no choice but to place that grandiose statement in its proper perspective: “Olbermann’s show remains little more than a dot in the rearview mirror of Fox News” - followed by this spin - “Even from that far back, he seems to have been able to honk his horn loud enough to raise hackles at Fox.” What followed was a supportive recycling of Olbermann’s trash talking about Fox headliner Bill O’Reilly, and Olbermann’s constant naming of O’Reilly as the “Worst Person in the World.”
Defending his recent mockery of FNC's Bill O'Reilly that included a Nazi salute, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his appearance on Tuesday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno to defend his actions, implying that he was inspired to do so at the suggestion of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to "do something creative," and also by viciously smearing O'Reilly as a defender of Nazis: "On the air in the last year, Bill O'Reilly has defended the Nazis from World War II on three separate occasions. ... Yes, I wish I were making this up." An ironic statement coming from Olbermann, who last year scolded public figures who use Nazi references, saying, "There's no place for the reference in this culture," and that the analogies are "wrong, offensive and deeply hurtful." (Transcript follows)
Video clip #1 (1:00) NBC runs Countdown promo of Olbermann slamming Ann Coulter, then he quips about Al Gore: Real (1.6 MB) or Windows Media (1.9 MB), plus MP3 audio (280 KB)
Video clip #2 (1:52) Olbermann explains why he did a Nazi salute while holding up a Bill O'Reilly mask: Real (3.1 MB) or Windows Media (3.6 MB), plus MP3 audio (550 KB)
Fox News Channel chairman and CEO Roger Ailes responded to Keith Olbermann's latest critical volley against Bill O'Reilly on Monday, saying the MSNBC host's behavior "is over the line."
Ailes, appearing Monday at the summer meeting of the Television Critics Association, was referring to a weekend incident at the gathering in which Olbermann whipped out a mask of O'Reilly and gave a Nazi salute.
Ailes said Olbermann picks on Fox's O'Reilly to boost his ratings.
Wasn't Tucker Carlson supposed to be MSNBC's conservative counterweight to Olbermann, Matthews, & Co? I might have to rethink that one, judging by the opening roll of his 'Tucker' show this afternoon, which clearly cast Israel as the heavy in the current conflict. Here's how it went:
Open to video of an Israeli tank firing rounds, as an off-screen voice breathlessly announces "Lebanon, under siege" as the scene changes to smoke rising from an urban Lebanese landscape.
Cut to a Lebanese couple, with the woman informing us that "our house is bombed, everything is bombed."
Cut to what looks like a mosque in ruins. Announcer: "Israel's attack on Hezbollah marches on, and so does the devastating toll on civilian life."
Cut to woman in Muslim head shawl comforting distraught young boy with kiss on head.
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann characterized President Bush's veto of a bill to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research as a "hard stance" and a "setback for stem cell research" as the President was "honking off" and "turning his back on" federal funding proponents "despite pleas from his own party." He also portrayed Bush's decision as "forget science, forget patients." Before the words "Appeasing the Base" were displayed on the monitor behind him, Olbermann employed a standard liberal attack accusing the "radical right" of inconsistency for being both anti-abortion and pro-death penalty, charging that "there are no straight lines in the radical right's attitude towards life." The Countdown host also sympathetically declared that Democrats were "confounded by" Bush's "scientific double speak," while he mocked Bush as "confounded by exactly which rights are endowed by the Creator in the Declaration of Independence." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday’s “Countdown,” host Keith Olbermann chose to virulently attack two of America’s most prominent conservatives in his Worst Person in the World segment: radio host Michael Savage, and author Ann Coulter. Olbermann began with Savage (video courtesy of Crooks and Liars):
"Our runner-up tonight, Michael Savage. Now, the bar is higher for him because ordinarily we do not like to mock the insane. But get this from his radio show 'The American left is cheering today. They`ll probably break open the jug wine and cheer that Jews are dying. They can tear off their masks once and for all and show themselves to be what they really are, which is the Nazis of our time.'
"This just in from hell: Satan has chosen Michael Savage`s show to broadcast over the P.A. system to torture the souls of the eternally damned."
Olbermann then went after Coulter for a comical e-mail response sent to a fashion magazine as reported by NewsBusters Tuesday:
On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann implied that the Senate Judiciary Committee deliberately timed its hearing on the controversial NSA spying program to "bury" the story as the national media attention is focused on war in the Middle East. The Countdown host similarly remarked that it was the "perfect day" for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to reveal President Bush's role in blocking the Justice Department from reviewing the program. Referring to NBC's The West Wing, Olbermann ended up labeling the day "take out the trash day."
After referring to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, Olbermann teased the segment at the beginning of the show: "A perfect day then to bury the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on warrant-free domestic spying by the Bush administration. A perfect day then for the Attorney General to reveal that the Justice Department was blocked from reviewing the legalities on the personal instructions of the President." (Transcript follows)
Tom Brokaw's two-hour Sunday night special, Global Warming: What You Need to Know, may be airing on the Discovery Channel, but NBC News, a co-producer of the program, is adopting it as its own even as another reviewer has asserted it provides a one-sided presentation. At the end of Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams touted, “One quick program note here about a friend of ours: Tom Brokaw's special report on global warming airs this Sunday night on the Discovery Channel. That's at 9 Eastern time.” A bit later Friday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann previewed a clip of the cable special: "Tom Brokaw has faced right-wing attacks for his report on global warming. We'll give you your first look at his special report and about how the latest news is that the Earth's warming is leading to the deaths of polar bears." Countdown viewers were then treated to an excerpt from the show in which Brokaw presented one scientists' take on how global warming is harming polar bears in the Arctic which, Brokaw definitely declared, are “likely to become another statistic in one's database of a species on its way to extinction." The excerpt -- identical to the preview clip aired on Friday's Today -- was certainly one-sided, but Olbermann insisted Brokaw's special “is plenty balanced. It is the Earth's atmosphere that is not balanced."
Meanwhile, in a review posted Friday by Bloomberg News, Dave Shiflett concluded: “You'll find more dissent at a North Korean political rally than in this program.” (A transcript, excerpts and a picture of cute baby polar bears follow)
[UPDATE: Saturday's NBC Nightly News aired an excerpt which showed the special matches Al Gore's fear-mongering ]
In March 2004, when the Bush campaign ran ads showing a brief image of a flag-draped body being removed from the World Trade Center wreckage, the media played up charges by Bush critics that the President was exploiting 9/11 for political purposes. When Republicans recently criticized Democrats for an ad that included images of flag-draped coffins of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, most of the media ignored the controversy, but not MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. The Countdown host instead weighed in taking the side of Democrats. Olbermann portrayed Republican criticism of the ad as "rock throwing" by those living in "glass houses" while putting no burden on Democrats to be consistent with their criticism of the Bush ad two years ago, as he relayed the Democratic argument justifying the ad: "Democrats say the Republicans erased the line years ago." (Transcript follows)
Valerie? Joe? Are you listening? Let me offer some well-intentioned advice. When liberal Larry O'Donnell - he of the infamous anti-Swifty meltdown - goes on Keith Olbermann's Countdown and calls your lawsuit 'very weak' and even the Olber-meister himself won't ride to your defense, it's time to fold your tent, toss in your hand, throw in the towel and quietly slink away. This has to go down as the biggest busted flush of a lawsuit-cum-publicity stunt in recent memory. What's next? Val and Tonya Harding in a pay-per-view steel cage match?
Let's put it this way. Zinedine Zidane would have a better shot suing Materrazi for bruising his forehead with his chest.
In the "Worst Person in the World" segment on Tuesday night's Countdown, Keith Olbermann poked fun at FOX News' spokeswoman Irena Briganti in an altered image that portrayed her as female version of host Bill O'Reilly. (Video link to Expose the Left to follow)
In a NY Times fluff piece on Olbermann, noted earlier on Newsbusters, Briganti called the MSNBC host a "train wreck waiting to happen" and commented on Countdown's declining ratings. It was clear Olbermann was furious at her remarks and decided to respond to her charge of Countdown's ratings by doing what he is best at, distorting the truth.
The New York Times ran a sycophantic story on the "success" of "Countdown" and how it has become the "centerpiece" of MSNBC's lineup. Throughout the article, columnist Bill Carter discusses Countdown's ratings only by its growth and not by actual numbers. An ignorant reader would come away thinking that Olbermann is some television star who is a real competitor in the cable news race. The only indication Carter gives of Olbermann's ratings is when he calls "Countdown" a "dot in the rearview mirror of Fox News."
He is either the leading man of MSNBC or its leading agent provocateur, but Keith Olbermann has no problem embracing either role.
“You can’t spell momentum without Olbermann — or something like that,” he said in a telephone interview, with a typical sprinkle of wry in his voice.
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann hosted former Nixon White House counsel and frequent Bush administration critic John Dean to talk about his latest book attacking conservatives, titled Conservatives Without Conscience, which the Countdown host labeled "an extraordinary document." Olbermann, who has a long history of bashing President Bush's tactics in the war on terrorism, provided Dean with a sympathetic, nonchallenging forum to argue that modern conservatives are moving the Republican party toward "authoritarianism" as Dean tagged some conservatives as having an "authoritarian personality," and labeled 23 percent of the population as "right-wing authoritarian followers" who are willing to "march over the cliff." Olbermann not only made his latest reference to George Orwell's 1984, but he also found relevance in bringing up Nazi Germany as he wondered if there had been similarity in the "psychological principles" in "Germany and Italy in the 30s," and, quoting a passage from Dean's book, brought up the possibility that conservatives might intentionally "provoke potential terrorists" in an effort to "maintain influence and control of the presidency."
Next time you hear liberals talk about mean-spirited Republicans, you might want to remind them of the cold-water dousing the MSM gave the 60 candles on the president's birthday cake.
First there was WaPo's Dana Milbank - that paragon of objective journalism - who on Countdown twisted W's good-natured gesture of inviting onto the podium press people who shared the same birthday into a metaphor of presidential lonelieness and isolation. Milbank also used the occasion to allude to Bush's allegedly dissolute youth. And for good measure, the 'reporter' even managed to revive allegations regarding Bush's National Guard service. How old are you now, Dana?
It's one thing for Keith Olbermann to take snide shots at President Bush. He doesn't hold himself out as an objective journalist, after all. But Dana Milbank is, in theory, not a partisan commentator but a national political reporter, repeat, reporter, for the Washington Post. Milbank is a man who has written that his only bias is for 'mainstream news' and that he is sees his role as 'gathering and reporting facts.'
Yet in his interview on last night's Countdown, it was Milbank [shown in an NB file photo] taking some of the nastier jibes at W on the occasion of the latter's 60th birthday.
Olbermann rather benevolently remarked that Pres. Bush "does not look 60. He does not seem to have aged as much as a lot of other presidents have during their time in office. Do we attribute that to something in particular? His physical fitness regimen, the strength of his convictions? Not having sleepless nights?"
When he asked "why doesn't he look at bad as other presidents who have been through the mill for five years?", Milbank shot back snidely:
"It probably wasn't his clean living in the 1970'S."
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann set a new standard for spin that would even make the famous Black Knight character from Monty Python's Holy Grail blush. Reacting to the MRC's recently released study (see the latest Media Reality Check and NewsBusters posting) documenting Olbermann's overwhelming 8 to 1 bias toward attacking many conservatives but very few liberals during his show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, Olbermann ludicrously argued that the study actually proves the segment is "apolitical" since most of his targets are not political. Tagging the Media Research Center as a "rabid right-wing spin group," Olbermann proceeded to employ his own spin as he essentially mocked the study, and concluded: "I'd like to thank the MRC for confirming my point that the segment is apolitical." And to add even more shamelessness, Olbermann brazenly chose conservatives, including MRC President Brent Bozell, as all three of his "Worst Person" nominees later in the same show. (Transcript follows)
Rush Limbaugh the target of gunfire from gun enthusiasts? Evidently this is a thought MSNBC host Keith Olbermann finds entertaining, as evidenced by the opening teaser of his latest edition of Countdown. On Tuesday's show, when Olbermann got to a plug for a story about a gathering of gun enthusiasts in Oklahoma, and while showing clips of people firing at targets using automatic weapons, an image of Rush Limbaugh's face was briefly shown overlaying a clip of background explosions right after one of the participants shouted, "Rush! Big rush!" Olbermann then joked: "Huh? Oh, you mean a different 'big rush.'"
Earlier in the teaser, Olbermann, who has become a frequent Limbaugh critic and mocks him as "comedian Rush Limbaugh," previewed a story on the conservative host's recent brush with U.S. Customs over a supply of Viagra Limbaugh had in possession. Olbermann, imitating Limbaugh's voice: "With talent on loan from Pfizer." After playing a clip of Limbaugh laughing off the incident on his show, Olbermann asked: "Will he get the last laugh or was that premature jocularity?" (Transcript follows)
The White House criticism, of the New York Times over its story disclosing an ongoing anti-terrorism effort to track financial transactions, sent MSNBC's Keith Olbermann into a tizzy Tuesday night as he showed no interest in the substance of the criticism or behavior of the newspaper and instead focused on the appropriateness of daring to take on the media behemoth. His on-screen text during his tease at the top of Countdown, “DISTRACT THE PEOPLE: Attack the Messenger.” Olbermann soon cited “what some are calling the Swift-Boating of the American media, particularly the New York Times,” as if anyone but his own show is using that term meant to discredit criticism of liberals. "Swift-Boating the Media" was the on-screen display during part of the lead segment.
He also denounced a “hysterical editorial,” on National Review Online, “demanding the Times lose its White House press credentials," before guest Craig Crawford ridiculed the attacks as electoral politics: "I think it goes back to the midterm campaign strategy. This is another way for Republicans to stoke the base, to burn in effigy the elite news media....I think this is just classic attack the messenger, you know, to get those conservatives who hate the news media worked up again.” Olbermann also snuck in this shot, shall we say: “The Vice President hadn't drawn as much blood since he shot poor Mr. Whittington.”
It became a laugh line long ago: "If we can't [insert your favorite dubious activity here], the terrorists will have won."
But that didn't prevent Keith Olbermann from trotting out the cliché tonight. A line so tired it would have to be months fresher not to be merely hackneyed. And all this in defense of the New York Times' latest leak of an anti-terrorist program - this time that of the the program designed to track terrorists' financial transactions.
Even Olbermann seemed abashed at stooping so low, but that didn't stop him. Claiming that the anti-terror program is "legally questionable," Olbermann actually said that "as the old saying goes" if the Times can't report this "haven't the terrorists won?"
Of the three broadcast network evening shows Thursday night, only the NBC Nightly News reported the late Wednesday afternoon revelation by Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Peter Hoekstra, Chair of the House intelligence committee, that an unclassified portion of a National Ground Intelligence Center report had revealed that 500 munition shells of mustard and sarin gas -- weapons of mass destruction -- had been found in Iraq. NBC anchor Brian Williams teased: “One Senator's new claim that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq." Chip Reid relayed Santorum’s disclosure before downplaying the significance: “The claim quickly becomes a hot topic on cable TV and the Internet, but just as quickly Pentagon officials pour cold water on the story, telling reporters the shells are old and inactive, dating from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, and that the shells are 'not the weapons of mass destruction we were looking for' when U.S. forces went into Iraq.”
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann ridiculed the finding of “WMD: weapons of minor discomfort," snidely suggesting “you might get a burn if you rub these weapons directly onto your skin.” Olbermann condescendingly marveled: “Independent experts and the level-headed staggering in amazement tonight that deteriorated mustard gas cannisters, at least 15 years old and as much as 18 years old, could be pawned off by desperate politicians as some kind of rationale for the deaths of 2,500 American servicemen and women in Iraq.” Soon enough, Olbermann raised Joe McCarthy, asking Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter: “Have Senator Santorum and Congressman Hoekstra moved directly into the league of Joe McCarthy waving the blank page that's supposed to contain the list of communists in the 50s?" (Transcripts follow)
On MSNBC's Countdown show on Friday, substitute host Brian Unger featured a softball interview with Democratic Congressman John Murtha during which Unger queued up Murtha to attack the Bush administration's Iraq policy and Republican critics. The Countdown host bolstered Murtha's credibility by referring to his war record and labelling him a "traditional hawk" while he discredited White House advisor Karl Rove by negatively labelling him as a "partisan attacker trying to squash discussion about Iraq," and proclaimed "the Swift-Boating of the 2006 election has begun." Unger also saw no irony in fretting about "personal attacks" on Murtha even as Murtha referred to Rove "sitting on his fat backside in an air-conditioned office." (Transcript follows)
On MSNBC's Countdown show on Thursday, substitute host Brian Unger suggested President Bush views American troops as "expendable" as he picked up on an erroneous report by the Washington Post that the new Iraqi government would offer amnesty to insurgents who had killed American troops. Unger contended that the President is "apparently okay with that," and wondered if the White House risked being "perceived as believing that American lives in Iraq are expendable." By contrast, FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume corrected the Washington Post's inaccurate story, which was based on an interview with an outgoing Iraqi government official. And just days after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a high-level member of al-Qaeda's leadership, was killed in Iraq, Unger dismissed Iraq's relevance to the war on terrorism, calling it "a link that has been proven not to exist." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday, NewsBusters reported how MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann sent an e-mail message to a viewer in which he debased colleague Rita Cosby as well as his boss at the time. Lloyd Grove of the New York Daily News (hat tip to NB reader John in CA) reported Thursday that Olbermann has been responding to his likely voluminous hate mail with…hate mail:
“Keith Olbermann's vacation isn't going so well.
“He was forced to apologize yesterday after more of his E-mails found their way to my inbox and exposed the host of MSNBC's ‘Countdown With Keith Olbermann’ as insulting and frequently obscene in an acrimonious exchange with two viewers who taunted him.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
(Update: For those that are interested, the following link directs you to a website that has some of the actual e-mail messages in question. Be forewarned that these are much more vulgar and offensive than what has been presented here.)
After Grove forwarded the e-mail messages to an MSNBC executive, Olbermann wrote the following (fair warning to not have food or drink in your mouth as you read this):